WASHINGTON: Nineteen food organizations including the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council and the National Restaurant Association have formed a coalition – Best Food Nation – to counter Eric Schlosser’s new book Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food, and the film version of his other book Fast Food Nation.
“We were trying to get through this first period when the book tour (for Chew on This) was ongoing and the movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France,” said Janet M. Riley, SVP public affairs at the American Meat Institute and co-chair of Best Food Nation.
Riley said the organization was also created to help reporters find information in one spot.
“This book and the movie has raised issues across many industries,” Riley said. “And it was clear that a reporter wanting to write a story about the film isn’t going to want to call the Potato Board, the Cattleman’s Association and the American Meat Institute. They’re going to want to find all the information in one place and that was the idea.”
Charlie Arnot, president of CMA Consulting, the agency working with Best Food Nation on this effort, said details of the media campaign are still under review, but would be implemented this summer. “We want to make sure we get the story out about Best Food Nation and if the movie is a vehicle to do that, that’s great,” he said.
Arnot said the group’s underlying message is that the US food system is safe, abundant and affordable. The site, Bestfoodnation.com, contains testimonials from registered dieticians, cattle ranchers, and employees of Tyson Foods and Cargill Meat Solutions among others.
Said Riley said. “We’re not attacking the author personally, we are critiquing the information and the facts on which some of his conclusions are based.”